November 19, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
You must actually scuba dive 21 feet beneath the surface of the sea to get to Jules Undersea Lodge, located at the bottom of the Emerald Lagoon in Key Largo Underseas Park. For the first time in history, an authentic underwater research habitat is open to the public. After swimming through the tropical mangrove habitat, overnight guests will approach the big 42' round windows of Jules Undersea Lodge. Inside, the cottage space is stocked with creature comforts: air-conditioning, hot showers, VCR/DVD, well-equipped kitchen, and cozy beds from where you can watch the colorful reef fish swim outside. Enjoy unlimited diving (for certified divers) and then dine on a subaquatic feast prepared by your "mer-chef": filet mignon, Florida lobster, and of course Key Lime pie. No wonder Jules Underseas Lodge has been featured in countless magazines and on every major television network in the world.
November 16, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Guests at The Peninsula Hong Kong, long hailed one of the finest hotels in the world, can now enjoy a complimentary harbor cruise. Two of Hong Kong's oldest icons, The Peninsula and The Star Ferry, have teamed up for The Peninsula's Cruise and Dine package. Each evening at 6:15 p.m., the hotel will charter the exquisite 'Shining Star' for a 45-minute cruise around Victoria Harbor with champagne served onboard. The "Grand Dame of the Far East" will offer the cruise from November 19, 2007- February 29, 2008. Just call the concierge to book your reservation. Or, choose the Cruise and Dine package, priced at HK $1,288 per couple, and enjoy a three-course dinner in The Lobby (with a bottle of Peninsula wine) after the cruise. As a special gift, The Peninsula Spa by ESPA will present each diner with a HK $300 gift certificate redeemable for any treatment.
November 15, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The tiny country of Monaco, the glamorous city-state nestled between Italy and France on the Côte d'Azur, is luxury incarnate. With over 300 days of sunshine per year, the Riviera is an enticing Mediterranean destination, and Monte Carlo is the prestigious choice for the globe-trotting elite. Take the six-minute helicopter ride from the Nice airport and arrive in style. (Plus, on the way you can take in all 500 acres of the Principality.) The place to stay is the Fairmont Monte Carlo, which unveiled a EUR 42 million renovation this spring. Built in the 70s, this enormous luxury hotel (619 rooms and suites) commands a remarkable location: built on piles over the water next to the Casino. It's like an island unto itself, floating over the Mediterranean, with sweeping sea views from its rooftop terrace and heated swimming pool. The Fairmont boasts three restaurants, two bars, 18 meetings rooms, a fitness center, shopping arcade, and in-house casino-- the first hotel in Monte Carlo to install its own. During the Grand Prix auto race in May, the Formula One cars rocket right under the hotel. Book the Corner Suite for the Grand Prix and you'll see why it's the most highly prized room in town for the race. On one side, views of the glittering sea, and on the other, the famous hairpin turn before the cars zoom into a tunnel beneath the hotel.
November 14, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The awards keep streaming in for The Nam Hai, the stunning Asian flagship for GHM (of Setai fame). The Nam Hai nabbed the #1 spot for the Best New Beach Resort at the 18th annual TTG Travel awards, which honor the movers and shakers in Asia-Pacific's travel industry. Since its opening in December 2006, the Nam Hai has been turning heads nonstop. Nestled on the pristine beach in Hoi An, Vietnam, the Nam Hai is a gorgeous design hotel with close proximity to important UNESCO World Heritage sites: the ancient Cham sanctuary of My Son and the citadels of Hue. You'll find in-room bathtubs, rain showers, flat-screen TVs and iPods, and in-room bars. There's an all-natural spa center, tennis courts, exquisite beachfront swimming pools, and a restaurant serving the finest Vietnamese cuisine overlooking water gardens and the ocean.
We're constantly scouring the earth for the best luxury hotels. When we stumble across hotels with views this breathtaking, this heartstoppingly beautiful, we can't help but get lyrical about them.
Amangani, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Ranked among the top après-ski destinations in the world and also consistently voted the nation's best spa by readers of Conde Nast Traveler, the ultra-luxurious Amangani is set atop East Gros Ventre Butte, offering panoramic views of the snow-capped peaks around Grand Teton National Park.
Hotel Caruso, Amalfi Coast, Italy
Soaring 350 meters above the sea, hugging the cliffside over the Mediterranean, the Hotel Caruso commands the ultimate location. White stucco houses draped with brilliant bougainvillea, this is sun-kissed Italy at its most charming. With views like this, the infinity pool is easily among the most beautiful in the world.
Oberoi Udaivilas, Rajasthan, India
Sitting high above Udaipur's fabled lake, the Oberoi Udaivilas looks across to the floating City Palace, gleaming white in the sunshine, and Aravalli Hills beyond. Named the best hotel in the world in Travel and Leisure's 2007 reader's poll, the Oberoi Udavilas has rooms fit for a maharajah in India's romantic desert city.
The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo, Japan
Occupying the top nine floors and the first three levels of the 53-story Midtown Tower, the tallest building in Tokyo, The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo features 360-degree panoramic vistas of the city and Mount Fuji. When it debuted in April 2007, the hotel dazzled Tokyo with its over-the-top service and amenities (like the $16,000 Diamonds-Are-Forever Martini with its very own Bulgari diamond).
Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur, California
Along the stretch of mythic California Highway 1, Big Sur enchants visitors with its awe-inspiring landscapes. Smack dab in the middle of this dramatic coastline, the Post Ranch Inn offers rustic elegance and incredible views. Dine above the Pacific at the award-winning Sierra Mar restaurant, guaranteed to be one of the most romantic dining experiences of your life.
Hayman Island Resort, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Located on the southwestern side of Hayman Island just beside the Great Barrier Reef, Hayman Island Resort boasts an idyllic setting surrounded by coral fringed beaches and the lapping waters of the Coral Sea. The resort has a style as special as its setting, and boasts the largest swimming pool in the southern hemisphere.
Jumeirah Essex House, New York
The Grande Dame of New York is uniquely situated at the southern base of Central Park, just across the street from 843 acres of parkland. An internationally renowned urban oasis, the Jumeirah Essex House has an excellent location right in the heart of midtown Manhattan.The 515 guest rooms and suites-- fresh from a $70 million renovation-- boast breathtaking views of Central Park. Plus, the hotel has a camera on the roof which scans the city and broadcasts live to a channel in the guest rooms.
Twelve Apostles, Cape Town, South Africa
Situated where earth, sea, and sky meet, Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa is poised above the Atlantic, flanked by Table Mountain and the majestic Twelve Apostles range, just minutes from the glorious oceanfront city of Cape Town.
Copacabana Palace, Rio de Janeiro
Looming over the world-famous Copacabana beach, the Copacabana Palace is legendary, a glamorous piece of Rio's history. Like a sumptuous white wedding cake on the sand, the hotel has hosted royalty, film stars, and world leaders.
Cap Estel, Eze-Bord-de-Mer, French Riviera
Located between Nice and Monaco in the charming clifftop village of Eze-Bord-de-Mer, Cap Estel is situated on its own four acre peninsula overlooking the Mediterranean with a 180 degree view of the coastline. All the guest rooms at this renowned 19th century hotel have a balcony or terrace with a sea view.
Heralded as the "first major hotel to open in Hong Kong in 15 years," the sleek Four Seasons opened in September 2005. Easily the top location on Hong Kong Island, the hotel is located on the waterfront of the Central neighborhood, with the Star Ferry just steps away. Its 399 spacious guestrooms have wall-to-wall windows offering views of the Harbour, Kowloon and the Peak. From the outdoor infinity pools, heated in winter, guests enjoy sweeping Harbour views.
Hotel Hassler, Rome
The Eternal City's most luxurious and romantic hideaway, the Hotel Hassler is perched above the Spanish Steps in an unbeatable location. Hands down the best views over Rome (while working out at the health club, you can check out St Peter’s Cathedral!)
The Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge is the only hotel located adjacent to the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas, one of the world's major heritage sites. Managed by Orient-Express, the luxurious Sanctuary Lodge can arrange visits to Machu Picchu with experienced guides.
Escape the family get-together (or take the fam with you) to the fabled city of Venice, where you'll lose yourself in its sparkling perfection. The uber-luxury palaces, Bauer Hotel and Bauer Il Palazzo, have put together an excellent package deal which includes one complimentary night, a five-course Thanksgiving feast, piano concert, and full buffet breakfast daily. Valid from November 22- November 25, 2007, the Venice Thanksgiving Getaway starts at EUR 1,740 per room for a four-night stay at the Bauer Il Palazzo. For a suite at the legendary Bauer Hotel, which has its own private dock on a small canal, the getaway is priced from EUR 2,160 per room.
PS. Check into the spellbinding Bauer Il Palazzo, one of the year's hottest new hotels located on the exclusive island of Giudecca, and buzz around to Venice's other islands in a solar-powered boat.
Get lost in luxury at the Hix Island House. There's been a lot of buzz about this eco-chic hideaway on the nature lover's island delight of Vieques. Formerly the home of environmentally-minded architect John Hix, the spacious lofts of Hix Island House showcase mind-blowing views of sea and sky. Set on 13 acres, the concrete building was designed to reflect the gray granite boulders of the island. The hotel does a lot more than blend gracefully into the surrounding environment; Hix Island House champions eco-friendly practices. Solar heated outdoor showers return water to the gardens, and the swimming pool is kept clean without the use of excess chemicals. From now until December 19, 2007, take advantage of the Fall Escape Special. Stay two nights and take a third night at half off. Stay three nights and get your fourth night for free. (Excludes the Thanksgiving holiday, November 19- November 25, 2007.) Now is the time to GO! (Any doubt in your mind-- just check out the reviews on TripAdvisor.)
Sir Rocco Forte will unveil a splendid new resort in 2009. Lapped by Mediterranean waters, Sicily is a land of ancient history, a cultural crossroads of temples and fortresses, overshadowed by the volcano Mt. Etna. Here, in a small village called Verdura (near Sciacca on the southern coast), the Rocco Forte Collection is building a EUR 129 million hotel and golf resort. Centered around the restoration of several historical buildings, the hotel will no doubt reflect the history and character of the region. Overlooking the sea, the 200-room Verdura Golf and Spa Resort will boast two championship golf courses, a hydrotherapy spa, and recreational facilities.
In just a few weeks, the Venetian Macao Resort will host a historic tennis match. Catch the action as the former World No. 1 tennis legend Pete Sampras goes head-to-head with the current World No. 1 tennis champ Roger Federer. There's been a lot of hype about this match between two of the greatest tennis players of all time. Called the most sought-after tennis event of 2007, the Venetian Macao Tennis Showdown will be played on Saturday, November 21 at the hotel's stunning event center. Fittingly, the Venetian Macao has put together some impressive packages for the event: Platinum, Gold, and Silver. The three-day/two-night Platinum Package, available for November 23-25, 2007, includes tickets in the Reserve A section for the match along with a slew of add-ons: complimentary drink at the Bellini Lounge, daily buffet breakfast, a 15-minute gondola ride down the Grand Canal, and your choice of fine dining experiences at the resort's superb restaurants. Priced at HKD 4,888 per person, assuming double occupancy.
November 2, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Get luxury for less at the brand spanking new Verandah Resort & Spa. Opened on October 19, 2007, this Caribbean gem is an all-inclusive paradise nestled on Antigua's pristine northeast coast. Encompassing 30 beachfront acres bordered by Devil's Bridge National Park, Verandah is an eco-friendly luxury resort with "Green Hotel Certification." Unwind at the free-form swimming pool, rejuvenate with an exotic treatment at the Spa Tranquility, or go kayaking or snorkeling in the turquoise waters of the resort's reef-sheltered beaches. There's even a dedicated Kid's Club and mini-cinema. The 200 rooms have water views and lots of high-tech amenities. The all-inclusive introductory rate is $243 per room, per night. The price for kids ages 2-11 is $60 per night. Available until December 20, 2007. In January, the rate jumps to $580 per night.